Electric Car vs Petrol Car: Cost Comparison In 2024

A guide looking at the difference in cost to fuel and maintain an electric car and petrol car to find out which is cheaper.

Last updated: Apr 24, 2024 5 min read


On average, it costs £528 less to run an electric car vs petrol car – a considerable saving for EV owners.

Are you considering making the switch from an internal combustion engine (ICE) car to an electric vehicle (EV)? Maybe you want to do something good for the environment or simply escape ever rising petrol and diesel prices. Whatever your reason is, comparing electric car vs petrol car costs will help you understand any outgoings associated with EV ownership.

We’ll explore whether charging an electric car is still cheaper than using petrol in 2024 and look at other ownership costs, such as maintenance and insurance.

The cost of running an electric car vs petrol car in the UK

Let’s start with an overview of the cost of running an electric car vs petrol car in the UK:

  • Purchasing price: EVs still tend to cost more than ICE cars of similar size and specification, although their prices are coming down.

  • Road tax: Fully battery electric vehicles (BEVs) currently pay no road tax in the UK, a potential saving of hundreds of pounds a year. This will change in April 2025.

  • Electricity vs fuel prices: In the last year, electricity and fuel prices have risen, making it more expensive to charge a battery and fill up a tank.

  • Maintenance: Data shows that EVs cost less to service and maintain than petrol cars.

  • Clean air zones: A number of cities across the UK have introduced zones in which vehicles that don’t meet minimum emissions requirements must pay a daily charge, such as the Ultra Low Emissions Zone in London. EVs are exempt from these chargers and depending on the city, some private petrol and diesel cars have to pay this cost.

Are electric cars still cheaper to run than petrol? A detailed comparison

Recent data from comparison site Compare the Market revealed that electric cars are £528 cheaper to own and run than petrol cars. The main reasons for this are the current road tax exemption and lower fuel costs.

But will this substantial difference in cost remain? Let’s take a closer look at upcoming changes to road tax and compare electricity and petrol prices.

Road tax

The Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), often referred to as road tax, requires petrol, electric and any other car owners to tax their vehicles on a yearly basis. As of 2024, EVs don’t have to pay road tax, but must still be registered for tax. They are also exempt from the Expensive Car Supplement, which applies to new ICE cars with a listing price higher than £40,000.

All of this will change from 1st April 2025, when new road tax rules for zero emission EVs will be introduced. Like petrol and diesel cars, new cars with a sale price above £40,000 registered after this date will be liable for the Expensive Car Supplement. This comes on top of the £180 standard rate of road tax, which EVs will start to pay from this date onward.

For example, if you buy a new EV on 1st April 2025 for a listing price of £45,000, you will pay:

  • £180 of road tax per year, every year

  • From the second year, £390 of Expensive Car Supplement per year for a total of 5 years

  • Plus, a first-year rate of £10

The first-year rate is applied to any new car purchased and can make a significant difference to costs during your first year of car ownership. While the rate will be capped at £10 for EVs, ICE cars can expect to pay up to £2,605 depending on the CO2 emissions rating.

So if you are planning to buy a new electric car from 1st April 2025, you can expect similar costs to buying a new, low emissions diesel or petrol car.

Electricity vs petrol

Since the introduction of the energy price cap on 1st January 2019, the price per kWh unit of electricity has increased by 68% from around 17p to 28.62p over 5 years. In the same time, prices for petrol have only increased around 13%.

External factors have influenced the rise in energy costs in recent years. While this increase has reduced the savings associated with electric cars, drivers still make savings using electricity over petrol fuel.

Tip: To maximise your savings as an EV driver, use your home charger whenever you can as this is the most cost-efficient way to top up your battery.

Factors influencing the cost of running an electric vs petrol car

You can further reduce the cost of running an electric car by taking up government grants available to you. If you live in a flat that you own or rent a flat with dedicated off street parking, you can get up to £350 off the cost of buying and installing a home chargepoint. Find out more about the OZEV Grant in our guide.

Car manufacturers are working on battery alternatives to the lithium-ion batteries currently found in EVs. One potential option is the solid-state battery, which could increase capacity of electric cars drastically. Importantly, carmaker Toyota claims that solid-state batteries could be cheaper to produce than current EV batteries. This has the potential to bring down prices for electric cars and make them more accessible to the wider market.

With the sale of new petrol cars due to be banned in the UK in 2035, it’s worth considering the potential savings and future-proofing an electric car can offer you.